Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

An Aspirin a Day Won't Make Healthy Adults Live Longer, Study Shows

An Aspirin a Day Won't Make Healthy Adults Live Longer, Study Shows

Our findings mean millions of healthy people over the age of 70, and their doctors, will now know daily aspirin is not the answer to prolonging good health.

"The concern has been uncertainty about whether aspirin is beneficial for otherwise healthy older people".

And there is some evidence that daily low-dose aspirin may help people to avoid a heart attack or stroke who are at risk and younger than 70 years old. The study, involving more than 19,000 people, found that the medicine was linked to a greater risk of serious...

The results from the trial, published Sunday in three studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that the rate of cardiovascular disease was 10.7 events per 1,000 person-years in the aspirin group and 11.3 events per 1,000 person-years in the placebo group.

Taking aspirin can help protect older adults who have suffered heart attacks, strokes and related complications in the past. It involved 19,114 older people, with 16,703 in Australia and 2,411 in the United States.

The first study comes from Monash University in Australia, where researchers followed almost 20,000 people across Australia and the US for a period of five years.

The study found a daily low dose of aspirin did not reduce risks of certain diseases and medical problems in older people.

"Cancer was the major contributor to the higher mortality in the aspirin group, accounting for 1.6 excess deaths per 1000 person-years". They noted however the escalated rate of bleeding in the team that accrued aspirin, as compared to the team that accrued a placebo.

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The study found the higher death rate in the aspirin-treated group was due primarily to a higher rate of cancer deaths. As new preventive opportunities arise they will typically require large clinical trials, and the structure of the Australian health system has proven an ideal setting for this type of study. ASPREE has provided this answer. At worst, it may raise their risk of internal bleeding and early death. Yet, many healthy older people continued being prescribed aspirin for this objective. After nearly five years, the researchers did not perceive a contrast between two groups as far as disability-free survival was concerned.

He was keen to participate in the aspirin study when his GP asked him to take part.

For healthy people, the study failed to show an overall benefit to offset the bleeding risk, he said.

People are prescribed aspirin after a heart attack or stroke because the drug thins the blood and reduces the chances of a repeat attack. This counted the uptick in upper gastrointestinal bleeding (HR 1.87, 95% CI 1.32-2.66) and intracranial bleeds (HR 1.50, 95% CI 1.11-2.02).

Dr. Ravi Dave says aspirin may make sense for a small group of older, healthy patients, even if they haven't already had a heart attack or stroke, such as smokers.

Dr. Margolis said they've only just begun to scratch the surface of what they could learn about the long term effects of aspirin on people over the age of 70.

It also didn't seem to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in these individuals. Among those taking aspirin, 8.6 percent experienced a major bleeding episode versus 6.2 percent of those taking the placebo. The rates of coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes were also similar.

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